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Watch the Depression Era Tuna Pie Recipe with Cottage Cheese Biscuit Topping video

Learn how to make this Depression Era Tuna Pie with a Cottage Cheese Biscuit Topping. This affordable and delicious recipe helps to stretch your grocery budget during these inflationary times.

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The Modern Pioneer Cookbook

Seasonal ingredients, traditional techniques, and nourishing recipes. Over 85 traditional, from-scratch recipes! Discover for yourself how you can use simple ingredients and traditional techniques to cook the modern pioneer way.

An Affordable and Delicious Tuna Pie

If you’re continually shocked by the rising prices of items every time you go to the grocery store, I understand completely! Unfortunately, inflation has been impacting all parts of our lives, from gasoline to soaring food costs.

To help us through these difficult times, we can look back in history to see the recipes home cooks made for their families during financially challenging periods. These recipes can be affordable and tasty, and that’s especially the case with this Depression Era Tuna Pie.

This recipe relies on:

  • A can of tuna
  • A couple of potatoes, and
  • Whatever vegetables you have on hand in your crisper. (You can easily use vegetables that may have fallen from their prime.)

And to help stretch the milk you have on hand, this recipe uses the water the vegetables are cooked in as part of the liquid you will need to make this Tuna Pie.

Save Your Vegetable Scraps and Water

When you make Tuna Pie, you will be peeling a couple of potatoes, an onion, and maybe a few other vegetables as well. To run a truly no-waste thrifty traditional foods kitchen, be sure to save up your scraps!

Potato Skins

Did you know that you can boil up potato skins in a bit of water, let the liquid cool, and then use that water to feed your sourdough starter? Your starter will thank you for it. It loves all that potato starch!

If you’re ready to try making sourdough bread as part of your traditional foods journey, I show you how to create and maintain your sourdough starter to keep it bubbly and active in my Complete Sourdough Starter Guide.

Onion Skins

Also, collect your onion and other vegetable skins and throw them into your bone broth scrap bag. The skins have just as much nutrition as the edible portions underneath, so never throw them out. They add a real mineral boost to your bone broths.

If you are looking for a clever home remedy for colds and flu that has been around for thousands of years, you can’t beat onion skin broth. I show you how to make it in the video below. You will be surprised at how tasty it is! But more importantly, this warm and comforting broth will help you feel better.

Vegetable Water

Plus, if you have some vegetable water leftover after making your Tuna Pie, don’t throw it down the drain. Instead, save this water and use it as a base for your homemade soups and stews.

You can also warm the vegetable water and pour it into a mug with a bit of sea salt for a tasty mineral boost—no need to buy mineral supplements. You have lots of minerals right there from the skins of your vegetable scraps.

To learn how to make a larger batch of super mineral broth, watch the following video to discover more about this natural immune booster.

Make Your Own Basic White Sauce

If you ever see a recipe that calls for using condensed soup, try making a basic white sauce and using that in place of the condensed soup. It’s much healthier, and you control the ingredients. I show you how you can easily make your basic white sauce in my Tuna Pie recipe video.

To create a basic white sauce, you’ll make this sauce with a simple butter and flour roux and some milk or other liquid. The recipe is in an easy-to-remember ratio of one-to-one between the flour and the butter and then half that for the liquid.

So, as you will see in this recipe, you will make your basic white sauce using:

  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 4 tablespoons of flour
  • 2 cups of liquid

And in my recipe video, I show you how to use the finger technique to test when your basic white sauce is ready.

Homemade Cottage Cheese For Your Tuna Pie Biscuits

This Tuna Pie recipe is quite unique in that it is topped with biscuits made with cottage cheese. The cottage cheese gives the biscuits a lovely cake-like texture you will find unique and delicious.

If you have cottage cheese on hand, you can use it, but if not, I show you how easy it is to make right in your home kitchen in the following homemade cottage cheese recipe.

Looking for More Budget-Friendly Recipes?

I hope you enjoy this Tuna Pie recipe for your next dinner. If you are looking for more budget-friendly recipes, then be sure to check out the following videos with printable recipes below.

Budget-Friendly Recipes with Canned Meats

If you have canned chicken, salmon, or tuna, I’ll show you how to make best use of them in the following budget-friendly and easy recipes. (If you enjoyed the Tuna Pie, you’ll love the Tuna Boat Surprise too.)

Grind Your Own Flour with the Mockmill

If you like to bake, consider grinding whole grain and making your flour fresh each time you need it. And with a simple sifting technique, you can have all-purpose flour in no time! Need a recommendation on which grain mill to buy if you don’t already have one? I’ve got you covered…and with a discount too!

When it comes to electric grain mills, after I did A LOT of research, I decided to buy a Mockmill. And am I so happy I did! The Mockmill is a very affordable but beautifully crafted German-made mill that stone grinds grain with settings ranging from 1 to 10—fine to coarse ground grain.

And I have great news! The folks at Mockmill are very kind to offer my viewers and readers a special one-time discount on any of the grain mills that they sell.

You can see me unbox and try out the Mockmill 100 Grain mill in the following video.

Masontops Mason Jar Fermentation Kit Discount Coupon

If you decide you want to serve a side salad along with your Tuna Pie, how about a fermented one?

Although you don’t need any special equipment to start making ferments, the Masontops kit can help you simplify the process and enable you to create your ferment successfully. In my Masontops unboxing video, I show you my Masontops Complete Mason Jar Fermentation Kit and go over everything the kit includes.

Download Your Free 36-Page Pantry List

Together, as we venture forth on our traditional foods journey, there is always something new to learn. And if you are at the very beginning of your journey, you might feel a bit overwhelmed as to how you should be stocking your Four Corners Pantry. I never want you to stress over any of this. That’s why I have prepared an indispensable guide for your journey!

For an extensive list of the traditional foods you can make and purchase to stock your pantry, be sure to download my free 36-page Traditional Foods Pantry List. This comprehensive eBook is full of links to recipe videos, helpful articles, and more!

This comprehensive eBook links to videos and printable recipes for how to make meals using all your real food ingredients.

The Modern Pioneer Cookbook

And if you’re looking for a printed book full of my traditional foods recipes and that shows you how to create a traditional foods kitchen, be sure to preorder your copy of my new book, The Modern Pioneer Cookbook.

Kitchen Academy Videos

Are you looking for more traditional foods videos? If so, I invite you to join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy. Members of this optional paid YouTube community get access to exclusive videos, live streams, and other members-only perks. Plus, your YouTube comments include a special members-only badge.

In the following members-only video, I talk about the Importance of Making Our Food Homemade.

Stay in Touch with Mary’s Nest

  1. Subscribe to My YouTube Channel for Traditional Foods Videos (Free) - When you subscribe, be sure to click on the notification bell that will let you know each time I upload a new video.
  2. Subscribe to Mary’s Traditional Foods Newsletter (Free) - Get a free 36-page eBook for signing up: How to Stock Your Essential Traditional Foods Four-Corners Pantry.
  3. Join the Traditional Foods Kitchen Academy (Optional Paid) - For more detailed videos and exclusive members-only perks, join my YouTube membership community.
  4. Order The Modern Pioneer Cookbook (Optional Paid) - Get a printed book of Mary's nourishing recipes from a Traditional Foods Kitchen. This bestselling cookbook is published by Penguin Random House with their DK imprint.

I look forward to having you join me in my Texas Hill Country Kitchen!

Depression Era Tuna Pie with Cottage Cheese Biscuit Topping

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Yield: 8 servings
Learn how to make this Depression Era Tuna Pie with Cottage Cheese Biscuit Topping. This affordable and delicious recipe helps to stretch our grocery budget during these inflationary times.


  • 1 Oven-proof baking dish (13×9)


Tuna Pie Ingredients

  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and cubed any variety
  • 1 medium yellow onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 stalk celery, diced
  • 2 cups assorted vegetables, cut into bite-sized pieces if necessary Examples include: carrots, string beans, peas, and corn.
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter You'll need additional butter to grease the baking dish.
  • 4 tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup milk, preferably full-fat
  • 1 cup reserved vegetable cooking water
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 cans tuna fish packed in water, any variety, drained and flaked Two 5-ounce cans of tuna fish worked well for me, but you can use 1 smaller can to keep the cost lower.

Cottage Cheese Biscuit Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 6 tbsp unsalted butter, cubed and chilled
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup cottage cheese
  • 1 tbsp unsalted butter, melted optional
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt optional


To Make the Tuna Pie

  • Add the potatoes, onion, and celery to a large skillet and cover with water. Bring up to a boil, then turn to medium to simmer until the potatoes are slightly undercooked. (See video.)
  • Add additional vegetables and simmer for another minute or two.
  • Strain vegetables into a colander over a bowl and set aside. Reserve vegetable cooking liquid and measure out 1 cup.
  • To make the basic white sauce, add butter to the skillet over medium heat. Once melted, sprinkle flour into the skillet and cook the butter and flour mixture while whisking for about 2 minutes.
  • Once the butter and flour mixture has cooked, add the milk and reserved vegetable cooking water into the skillet. Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a boil, whisking continuously until there are no lumps and the mixture has thickened. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste. Set aside. (You've created your basic white sauce, which also makes an excellent substitution for condensed soup in recipes.)
  • Transfer the potato and vegetable mixture to a large bowl and add in the tuna fish. Mix well.
  • To the bowl, pour the sauce over the potato vegetable tuna mixture and mix well until everything is well coated.
  • Transfer the mixture to a greased baking dish. Smooth out the top of the mixture and set it aside.

To Make the Biscuits

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  • Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt through a mesh strainer into a large bowl.
  • To the flour mixture, add the dried parsley. Mix well.
  • Add the butter to the flour mixture and cut the butter until the mixture looks like fine crumbs with some larger pieces throughout that are the size of peas. (See video.) Set aside.
  • Add the cottage cheese to the milk and stir until the cottage cheese is distributed throughout the milk.
  • Make a well in the center of the flour and butter mixture and pour the milk cottage cheese mixture into the well.
  • Mix everything together until the flour mixture is completely coated.
  • Dump the mixture onto a floured flat surface and roll into a log 12 inches long and 2 inches high.
  • Slice the log into 16 equal biscuit pieces.
  • Place the sliced biscuit pieces over the tuna pie in an even pattern. (See video.)
  • If desired, brush the biscuit tops with melted butter and sprinkle with salt.

Baking the Tuna Pie with Cottage Cheese Biscuit Topping

  • Place the tuna pie on the middle rack of the preheated oven. Bake for 18-20 minutes until the biscuits are a golden brown and the tuna pie is bubbling.
  • Remove from the oven to a heatproof surface, allow to cool for 5-10 minutes, and then serve.
  • This tuna pie is best eaten the day it is made.



Find this recipe and video at
Copyright © 2022 Mary’s Nest, LLC, All Rights Reserved


Calories: 422kcal | Carbohydrates: 47g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 64mg | Sodium: 1004mg | Potassium: 561mg | Fiber: 4g | Sugar: 4g | Vitamin A: 2938IU | Vitamin C: 17mg | Calcium: 200mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Americana
Calories: 422
Keyword: Depression Era Tuna Pie, Tuna Fish Recipe, Tuna Pie, Tuna Pie with Biscuit Topping
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The Modern Pioneer Cookbook

Seasonal ingredients, traditional techniques, and nourishing recipes. Over 85 traditional, from-scratch recipes! Discover for yourself how you can use simple ingredients and traditional techniques to cook the modern pioneer way.

Disclaimer:I am not a medical doctor, a medical professional, a dietician, or a nutritionist. All content found on the website, including text, images, videos, eBooks or eGuides, social media, or other formats, were created solely for informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or proper nutritional advice. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have watched in a video or read on this website. Use caution when following the recipe in this video. The creator and publisher of this video and website will not be held responsible for any adverse effects that may arise from the use of this recipe and method or any other recipe and method on this website or corresponding video channel.

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